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Firefighter hears gasps, rescues boy from apartment fire

A firefighter heard a 3-year-old boy gasping for air, crawled down a smoke-filled hallway of a south Kansas City apartment and pulled the child to safety Thursday afternoon.

The child was rushed to a hospital, where he was reportedly “sitting up and playing with toys” two hours later, said Fire Marshal Floyd Peoples.

“This is the highlight of January,” Peoples said.

He said the fire could have been fatal.

The fire was reported shortly after noon in a two-story apartment building in the 11300 block of Blue Ridge Boulevard.

Crews saw smoke and fire coming from the apartment window. They attacked the fire with three hose lines and started a search. That’s when the rescuer heard the gasping sounds. After crawling down the hallway, the firefighter found the child in a bedroom. The child was brought outside and then taken to a hospital.

The boy’s mother was initially thought to have been injured too, but she refused treatment and drove to the hospital to be with her son.

Officials are investigating the cause of the fire, which originated in the kitchen.

A smoke alarm was in the apartment, Peoples said, but it was not functioning. Fire officials were working with the apartment’s management to check that other apartments had working alarms.

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